The Diary of a Young Girl: Novel Summary: October 14 – December 22, 1942

October 14 – December 22, 1942After the disturbing news Anne related in her entry for October 9, the next few entries find her relating more mundane thoughts and events. She works on her French and math, and also learns shorthand; her father has begun to read to her in the evening from classic German literature; Miep and Jan spend the night with them, and Anne enjoys their visit. In between, however, the Franks have a scare, in which they fear that their hiding place has been discovered by a carpenter who was working in the building. It turns out to be a false alarm but it is a reminder to Anne of how precarious and dangerous their position is. She also seems to have reconciled with her mother and her sister, although she and her mother are never close. On November 5 Anne also has some harsh words to say about Margot, so their period of reconciliation does not last long. Anne still feels that her parents never scold Margot for anything but blame her, Anne, for everything.
In a long entry on November 7, she analyzes her family relationships. She models herself on her father, whom she appears to adore, and she also demands that even though she is young, she has a right to be taken seriously, the way Margot is. In this respect, even her father lets her down. She wants to be loved for who she is, not merely because she is his daughter. But it is through her father that she manages to retain some kind of family feeling. Although she tries not to judge her mother, she says that Mrs. Frank is not a mother to her, and she has to mother herself. Wondering whether God is trying to test her by putting her in this difficult situation, she resolves to try and become a good person on her own, without anyone else to serve as a model.
Anne also follows the news about the war, noting that the British have landed in Africa and captured some cities previously in German hands. The Germans, in spite of laying siege to Stalingrad for three months, have so far failed to capture it.
The main event in the annex in November is that the Franks and the van Daans invite an eighth person to share their hideaway. The newcomer is a Jewish dentist named Alfred Dussel. The Franks do not know him well, but from their brief acquaintance they like him. When Dussel arrives, which Anne reports on November 17, he is astonished to find the Franks there, since he thought they had escaped to Belgium. In order to accommodate Dussel, Margot moves into her parents bedroom, and Dussel shares a room with Anne.
Dussel reports how the situation for Jews in Amsterdam is deteriorating. Entire Jewish families are being taken from their homes at night by military officials and sent away. Anne fears that these people are being sent to their deaths. She feels fortunate to have a safe hiding place and is distressed at the fate being suffered by her friends. Dussel tells them some terrible stories about what is being done to the Jews.
It doesnt take long for Anne to become disillusioned with Dussel. She liked him at first, but on November 28, she reports that he is an “old-fashioned disciplinarian” who preaches long sermons about manners. She has become exasperated by his scolding of her, and their relationship worsens by the day.?
She also reports on some happier topics: the exchange of gifts at Hanukkah and St. Nicholas Day; Mr. van Daans skill at making sausages; the fact that Dussel is giving them dental exams; and the extra butter rations they have for Christmas.
These two months set out a pattern that is typical of Annes diary as a whole: her conflicts with her family and the other residents, especially Dussel; the fear of being discovered; the news from the war; and Annes determined attempts to understand herself and her family relationships, and to improve her character.
It is easy to see how the arrival of Dussel has a negative effect on Anne, since she no longer has any privacy. At thirteen, she? is having to share her room with a man in his fifties.
Her entry for November 7 1942, in which she analyses herself and the family relationships shows a maturity that is remarkable for? a? thirteen-year-old. No doubt her confinement in the annex, which meant that she had to deal with people at close quarters all the time, with little chance to escape them, contributed to this ability to be introspective and to think deeply about herself and her interactions with others. Circumstances forced her to look within herself.
Not unlike most teenagers, Anne demands consistency in her parents treatment of her, but she is not blind to her own faults. She is aware that she often feels weak and fails to meet expectations. Her resolve to do better reveals the determination and strength of character that was to serve her well for the remainder of her stay in the annex.
Anne also clearly declares her independent spirit, which only grows over the next two? years. “Im charting my own course,” she writes, “and well see where it leads me.”
In these early days, Anne writes her diary solely for herself. She has no thought that anyone else will ever read it. Her statement, “Who else but me is ever going to read these letters?” is full of unconscious irony, since Annes diary was to become one of the most widely read books ever published.?